News for Sunday, August 7, 2005

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High gas prices

Thumbs Up

Construction

signs welcome

Money changing hands is the latest signal that construction will come soon to the Interstate 85/Ga. Highway 316 interchange.

Any sign of progress in bringing that project to fruition deserves a thumbs up.

A vote this week to turn over to the state the rest of the project expenses is a sign that construction will start within months.

In fact, the county stands to recoup some of its expenses. On Tuesday, commissioners learned they would receive about $96,000 back from the state for the cost of designing the monstrous project.

The design will allow westbound traffic on Ga. 316 to merge with I-85 traffic on the right side. Drivers now must enter on the left side of the interstate, and, if they want to exit at Pleasant Hill Road, must immediately weave across several lanes of traffic.

Judge tames dog breeders

Judge Patricia Muise this week sentenced two Norcross men to six months in jail - 10 days for each dog they neglected. The judge earns a thumbs up for giving the men a stern talking to in addition to their jail time.

Raymond Barry Washington, 25, and John Holmes, 21, were found guilty on 36 counts of animal neglect stemming from a July 12 bust at a Norcross residence where officers found three dozen pit bulls living in what Muise called "outrageous and absurd" conditions. The two also got a $5,000 fine, which will be waived if they agree to pay the tab for the county's care and feeding of the dogs since they've been at the shelter. The dogs with an agreeable temperament can now be put up for adoption. The others will have to be euthanized.

Washington and Holmes contend they didn't use the dogs for fighting. However, Muise said when issuing the verdict that she had a "difficult time believing that it was only a breeding business because nobody in their right mind would buy a dog in that condition." A vet who was on scene with animal control when the dogs were impounded in July said some of the dogs' ears were clipped in a manner often seen on fighting dogs, and that one of the buildings on the property appeared to have a fighting area in it.

A judge's job is to separate fact from fiction. We believe Muise did just that.

Lock the door

Thumbs up to the Winder board that this week upheld the firing of an officer failed to secure a jail door. Marie Jensen admitted to not locking the door, but didn't think her "first offense" would result in such severe punishment.

Let that be a lesson to aspiring jailers in Winder where they frown on employees leaving the doors to the pokey unlocked.

Dogs inspire controversy in communities

LAWRENCEVILLE - Bear's blood stains the blue carpet. It cakes his yellow fur. And it's scattered along the white, plywood walls that have enclosed him in a makeshift ring.

Auburn council OKs major change to city government

AUBURN - Amid heated discussion and a call for the resignation of the mayor and any other council member who supported the move, the city of Auburn on Thursday night approved an ordinance changing the way the city government does business.

Back to the books

Classes will begin Monday for Gwinnett County Public Schools, the state's largest school system.

Some residents fired up about Kroger rezonings

DACULA - Two controversial annexations and rezonings passed in Thursday's Dacula City Council meeting allow construction of a Kroger and an L-shaped strip shopping center with nine additional commercial tracts.

People Briefs

Eddie Murphy's wife of 12 years files for divorce

Thurbert Baker ... and the battle for openness

In 2000, Thurbert Baker barely missed becoming Georgia's first black U.S. senator. If Zell Miller had said no to Gov. Roy Barnes' entreaty to accept a Senate appointment, Attorney General Baker was ready to go. Even before Miller was approached, Baker was the top choice of Barnes' closest advisers to take the seat left vacant by Sen. Paul Coverdell's death.

Nation Briefs

Hiker finds body of park ranger missing 8 days

What's Going On Here

Where: Ga. Highway 120 (Duluth Highway) and Purcell Road

Community Calendar

Tuesday

Lightning sparks Norcross house fire

From staff reports

Former talent agent to the stars opens Web consulting business

What They Do: Web site consulting

World Briefs

Tunisian plane plunges into sea;

Road Closures

Bogan Road from Harmony Elementary School to Hamilton Mill Road will require intermittent lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through the end of August for safety improvements to include the construction of curb, gutter, sidewalk and a multiuse path.

It's all semantics in the District 106 race

There's only one politician in the House District 106 race.

Hi-Hope Service Center volunteers embody spirit of community

Fifty-two-year-old Marty unveiled his talent for doing impersonations of TV personalities while riding in a Hi-Hope Service Center van on the way to a volunteer project.

Yin and yang of earnings

Two of Gwinnett's largest companies turned in mixed earnings reports this week.

Marketplace

Conducting

They fight for the freedom from fear

A strong boom rolled through the floor and shook the clock off the wall in our dirt-blown dispatch shack. No mistaking - it was a car bomb - and fairly close. Within seconds it was followed by the more definitive "thump-Pow ... thump-Pow" of mortar rounds hitting a bit closer. As our three-man team started toward the concrete bunker, I caught a glance over the berm and noticed black smoke billowing up near a mosque about 800 yards beyond the wire.

Centennial party brings big crowd to downtown

DACULA - Residents, former residents and city officials celebrated Dacula's 100th anniversary with a party in the downtown streets Saturday.

Joe Elrod

Joe Elrod, age 39, of Athens, passed away Friday, August 5, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

E. M. Hames

Dr. E. M. Hames, of Lilburn, died Saturday, August 6, 2005. Arrangements pending by Bill Head Funeral Homes & Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown, age 77 of Snellville, died Friday, August 5, 2005. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 2246 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, GA 30078, 770-979-5010.

Ernest Fitzpatrick

Ernest F. Fitzpatrick, age 79 of Winder, passed away August 5, 2005. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

Dorothy Brumbalow

Dorothy Morrison Brumbalow, age 84 of Snellville, GA, died Saturday, August 6, 2005. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Wages Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200.

Michael Montgomery

Michael (Scooter) Montgomery, age 17, of Dacula passed away Friday, August 5, 2005. Funeral Services will be held 3:30 P.M. Tuesday, August 9, 2005 at Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula. Burial ...

Robert Hendren

Robert J. (Bob) Hendren, 64, of Tucker, died Saturday, August 6, 2005. A native of Illinois, Bob was a sales associate with Parisian. He is survived by his wife, Janet ...

Thelma Sturdivant

Thelma Stephens Sturdivant, 93, of Lilburn, died Friday, August 5, 2005. The funeral will be at 2 P.M., Monday, August 8, 2005 at the First Baptist Church of Lilburn with ...

Ruth Staples

Ruth Staples, age 90 of Suwanee, died Friday, August 5, 2005. Funeral Services will be held 3 PM, Sunday, August 7, 2005 at the Lawrenceville Church of God. She will ...

Ethel Devore

Mrs. Ethel Leona Haynes DeVore, age 96, of Lawrenceville, GA died on August 5, 2005. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Philip DeVore; son-in-law, Henry ...

Alton Hutchins

Mr. Alton Hutchins, Sr., age 78, of Atlanta, and formerly of Buford, GA, passed away August 5, 2005. He is survived by his: Daughter: Kathi Watts of Kennesaw, GA; Sons ...